Review: Flowers for Mr Harris, Crucible Theatre

Mark Meadows as Albert Harris and Clare Burt as Ada Harris in Flowers for Mrs Harris, Crucible Theatre. Credit: Johan Persson/
Mark Meadows as Albert Harris and Clare Burt as Ada Harris in Flowers for Mrs Harris, Crucible Theatre. Credit: Johan Persson/

Flowers for Mrs Harris, Crucible

What’s the luxury that you would scrimp and scrape for years to buy?

For cleaning lady Ada Harris, working in drab 1950s London, a beautiful Christian Dior dress seen in a rich client’s wardrobe fills her heart with such joy that she’s determined to scrape together the money to buy one on a trip to Paris.

What follows is a frothy confection, beautifully made and full of colour.

Clare Burt, fully deserving a standing ovation on press night, is a joy as Mrs Harris, a woman whose sharp eye for smoothing along human relationships makes a difference to everyone around her.

She can cheer up neurotic best friend Violet (a great role for Anna-Jane Casey), cope with annoying clients and do a spot of match-making for Dior model Natasha and uptight fashion house accountant Andre. The chemistry between lovers Louis Maskell and Laura Pitt-Pulford is a delight.

Backstage must be chaos as much of the cast play multiple roles in London and Paris scenes. Some actors, such as Mark Meadows, are so clever that it took a glance at the cast list to work out who’s who.

Daniel Evans’ direction has everything cracking along, the singing is lovely and Lez Brotherston’s minimalist design works well.

However, I was left a bit flat by the first half but thought the show came together after the interval. The finale was heartwarming and uplifting.

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